House of Sforza
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|House of Sforza|
|Parent house||House of Visconti (through Bianca Maria Visconti)|
Milan:Francesco II (1535)
Milan:1500: Italian Wars
Pesaro:1519: Death of Galeazzo
Sforza was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan. They acquired the Duchy of Milan from the previously ruling Visconti family in the mid-15th century, and lost it to the Spanish Habsburgs about a century later.
Rising from rural nobility, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics, similar to the Medici in Florence. Under their rule the city-state flourished and expanded.
Muzio Attendolo (1369–1424), called Sforza (from sforzare, to exert or force), founded the dynasty. A condottiero from Romagna, he served the Angevin kings of Naples and became the most successful dynast of the condottieri.
Muzio's third son, Bosio (1411–1476), founded the branch of Santa Fiora, who held the title of count of Cotignola; the Sforza ruled the small county of Santa Fiora in southern Tuscany until 1624. Members of this family also held important ecclesiastical and political position in the Papal States, and moved to Rome in 1674, taking the name Sforza Cesarini.
The Sforza became allied with the Borgia family through the arranged marriage (1493-1497) between Lucrezia Borgia and Giovanni (the illegitimate son of Costanzo I of Pesaro). This alliance failed as the Borgia annulled the marriage once the Sforza's were no longer needed.
Sforza rulers of Duchy of Milan
Sforza rulers of Pesaro and Gradara
Sforza family tree
In popular culture